Despite falling behind 2-1 at the half, Carthage netted five second-half goals and picked up a win in their first game of the season 6-4 over Monett.
A player from each team recorded a hat trick in the game.
Sophomore Jason Puente scored three of Monett’s four goals, while junior Elder Reyes netted half of Carthage’s goals in the contest. Surprisingly, both players scored two of their goals on penalty kicks.
“There were a lot of PK’s,” said Monett coach Cristobal Villa. “Six PK’s, that’s quite a bit of PK’s.”
Carthage head coach Jacob Osborne also commented on the penalty kicks: “I don’t believe I’ve seen a game that’s had five-plus PK’s before. It’s a first.”
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Goals were scored on four of the six penalty kick opportunities in the game, providing Monett with both their first-half goals. But Carthage responded quickly after halftime. The Tigers scored two quick goals in the first five minutes of the second half to take the lead 3-2.
“We went the entire season last year without coming from behind to get a win. Not once,” said Coach Osborne. “That is what I brought up to them at halftime, was last year, we went the entire year without doing this. This gives us an opportunity. That’s one plus for us to take away from being down 2-1 at halftime. It’s game one and we got a chance to show that we have the mental strength to do that.
“I told them I want us to get [the goals] back in the first ten minutes, and it took a minute thirty to get that first one, then just a couple minutes later to get the second one. So I was pleased to see that.”
Carthage would relinquish the lead again.
Monett scored twice in less than a minute around the 21-minute mark in the second half. Senior Daniel Salas booted a goal, followed by Puente’s third goal to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
The Tigers possessed the ball for over 60 percent of the game and controlled the pace of the second half. They would go on to score the final three goals of the contest.
Another penalty kick opportunity allowed Reyes to tie the game 4-4 with about 17:24 to play. He scored again with less than five minutes to play, effectively sealing the win for Carthage.
“I felt alright for the opening game of the season, but I’ve got a great team behind me,” said Reyes. “Props to Rudy Gonzalez for scoring two goals. It was all a team effort and I was blessed enough to score three goals.”
“It was going to be a very tight game, a very aggressive game,” said Coach Villa. “Carthage is a good team… We upgraded our schedule to the max. We’ve got good teams coming up with Nixa, Ozark, Springfield Catholic, Branson. Good teams, Class 3 and Class 4’s. But we eventually gotta keep working and if we have a lead, we’ve gotta do whatever it takes to bring it home because again, this is not the only team that we’re going to be facing that is really good.”
Both of these teams will take to the pitch for their second game on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Monett will travel to Republic as they hope to pick up their first win and even their record at 1-1. Carthage will welcome in Springfield Catholic.
“If we show up and play the way that we’re capable and we’re playing the right way, I think that we’ll have a very solid season and we’ll be very tough,” said Osborne.